Return to Eden was the Australian answer to Dallas. The story began with
a mini series in 1983. In the original TV Drama, Stephanie (Rebecca Gilling),
is nearly murdered by her husband by being thrown to the crocodiles. The
woman who was romancing her husband (Jilly), her former best friend, shot
and killed him. Stephanie was horribly disfigured by the croc, but a
handsome doctor redid her face, turning her into a raving beauty. She came
back under an assumed name, became a wildly successful fashion model,
exposed Jilly, and then inherited her father's mining company, making her
the richest woman in Australia. She married her doctor, and Jilly went to
And all that is just the preface for the story I'm reviewing today!
The prime-time soap opera picks up seven years after the events in the
mini-series. Stephanie's two children have not fully accepted the doctor,
and there is some trouble in the marriage because Stephanie is a workaholic.
A corporate raider has put Stephanie's company in play, and the evil Jilly
is released from prison. Stephanie invites her to move in with her to get
settled, and her father's unknown will is discovered. Stephanie still gets
everything, but the bombshell is that Jilly is actually Stephanie's sister.
(Hey, can I get an organ chord here?) Jilly and the corporate raider are
both out to ruin Stephanie, both out of revenge. Elsewhere, Stephanie's son
is not as mature as he should be, and has collected gambling debts and shown
a callous disregard for small things like laws and ethics. Although
Stephanie has been trying to make her daughter into a concert pianist, the
little nipper switches careers to the fashion business that Stephanie had
started under an assumed identity, and then falls in love. Scenes include
every imaginable pairing of these and other characters. The last several
episodes will remind viewers of the mini-series.
I can understand why the show was popular in Australia and England with
those who enjoy soaps. Jilly and the corporate raider are effective and truly
villainous as villains, Jilly (Peta Toppano) makes full use of her physical
charms to get what she wants, and the writers managed major plot twists in
nearly every episode.
That being said, I am not a fan of soaps, and this one is no exception.
The production values are 80s soap quality, including frequent appearances
by the boom mike, and one scene shot from a high angle that reveals the
actors marks made with gaffer's tape on the floor.
So maybe the nudity makes it worthwhile? No. Those who are not into soaps
can't justify watching the show on the basis of nudity. There is far too little
skin to justify a 15-hour investment on that basis, and even the very small
amount is blurred by shower doors, and is confined entirely to the first two